Parenthood is a 24/7 job. No one could ever be prepared for the amount of work it really is. No one could ever be prepared for the depth of the reward. As mothers, we tend to harbour guilt about almost everything. We could never live up to the standard we have in our minds, why I don’t know, but add in a disability and you have hit the Motherload (pardon the pun) of guilt. Here are some thoughts about Motherhood in general and with a disability.
Motherhood is one of those jobs that offers the following:
- No Sick Days – this includes the “Mental Health” Days taken in your early working years aka “shopping” “spa days”
- No Vacation – unless you include when you happen to be at home and they are at a sleep over or something.
- No Pay Raise – nope, actually you pay them.
- No Promotions – you do get promotions when they are under 12 i.e. ‘You are the BESTEST Mummy in the World”, then demotions between years 12-19 “I hate you”, “You don’t get it” are some of the comments. They also went from wanting you at school and were proud to “Drop me off at this corner, I don’t want to be seen getting dropped off by my MOM’
- No Stress Leave – nope, got nothing
- No Lunch Break
However, you get the following
- Job Security – hopefully you don’t get fired
- Job Recognition –
- Hand made cards
- Pictures or crafts with Mummys’ smiling or “I Love You Mummy”
- Necklaces, pencil holders, bracelets and/or other containers custom designed
- A little person running towards you yelling “Mummy” and then a huge hu
- Retirement Benefits – you get Grandchildren hopefully and someone to sit with you at the end. My eldest daughter said, she will find someone to change my diapers when I am 65 (yes that is the age she said) but wouldn’t change them herself. Which is OK with me.
- Health Benefits – a hug and a kiss is the best benefit I can imagine
I harbour serious guilt about being a disabled mother. I can’t take them to school trips – until recently – I couldn’t even go to neighbourhood parties. I wasn’t able to spend as much one on one time with my second. I had to work while in pain with another baby, I feel so short-changed about my time with her. Even though I was with her everyday, it went too quickly. I can’t do alot of things the other mothers do, but lots of other women (and men) have filled the void in very well.
Most mothers harbour lots of guilt about everything and nothing. I am not sure why we do this, but it seems to be a job requirement or hazard.
I have made a list of cool things we have gained through my disability.
- I have learned to master every craft under the sun – I am serious: Martha Stewart has nothing on me.
- I had naps with my kids until they went to Grade 1 – this allowed me to rest and hold them as close to me as possible. Is that healthy? Who cares, they will be on their own soon enough and won’t want to do that anymore. Take it while you can I say.
- Forced to stay at home and work, allowed me to see:
- First words
- First steps
- First bottle
- First day of school
- First of everything – for now
- My kids were self-sufficient earlier than their peers. They had to get dressed by themselves early on, including snow suits and boots. They had to make their beds, set the table and put their laundry away by the time they were 5. Having said that, we are trying to raise capable adults, so this is a good thing.
- They learned a deeper compassion for disabled people. They have helped me get dressed, get food and other basic activities based on my mobility.
- My husband got to have a very strong and close relationship with them.
There are many other benefits to being a sickie poo mother. The fact that I have had so much time with them is a benefit; I snuggle with them, read with them, laugh with them and love them. I am blessed with really great kids. Even though I am unable to go on some outings with them, their father and friends have taken them on lots of adventures.
When my girls were 3 and 1, I was hospitalized for a week. During that time, I was assessed by several different departments, one of which was psychiatry. They asked me “Do you think you are a good mother?” I thought really hard. I answered “I don’t know”. They asked “Why do you say that?”. I answered, “Well, truthfully, you would have to ask them in about 20 years. I won’t see the results of my job until then and even then, it won’t be me answering, it will be them.” They laughed, but it is true.
All I know is this….I waited my whole life to be a mother. Although their childhood is altered due to my condition, it hasn’t destroyed it or, I hope, tarnished it. Every parent have their shoulda, woulda, coulda’s. Even though I am disabled and I can’t do alot of things the other mothers can do, I have been able to be around them more than the average mother. I am so grateful every day, that I was given these 2 little poopers. They have taught me so much about what I am capable of and wouldn’t change a thing…..except it would be nice not feel pain…..